Free Will and Responsibility Essay

One of the most of import aspects of the philosophical survey of free will is the thought of duty. When. if of all time. is an agent responsible for their actions? While there are infinite theories and schools of idea that attempt to cast visible radiation on this subject. several of which will be discussed here. there is one in peculiar that has stood out in our class of survey therefore far. It is the theory of the “Deep Self” and “Sane Deep Self” proposed by Susan Wolf. Of peculiar involvement is this impression of the Sane Deep Self.

Wolf argues. and I believe truly so. that saneness is a cardinal factor in finally finding duty. However. as one may presume. this is non the lone factor to see. We will look at both the Deep Self View and the Sane Deep Self position. paying particular attending to Wolf’s narrative of the awful dictator JoJo. Once this has been established. we will travel to support both Wolf’s theory of the Sane Deep Self. including but non limited to what she believes is finally required of a individual to be considered responsible for their ain actions.

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The “Deep Self” is an thought presented by Wolf which lays the foundation for her beliefs about duty while at the same clip trying to put the similarities in point of views posed by Harry Frankfurt. Gary Watson. and Charles Taylor in respects to their beliefs on duty. under one inclusive umbrella. These are beliefs that belong to what Wolf calls a new “trend in philosophical treatment of responsibility” ( Kane 146 ) .

Wolf does non desire to wholly disregard this tendency. but instead she seeks to indicate out where it falls short. in bend offering what she considers to be the reply to these defects with her “Sane Deep Self” position. Thus. before diging into precisely what Wolf means by this deep ego. and finally the sane deep ego. it is critical we define the point of views of Frankfurt. Watson. and Taylor and the ways in which these positions lend themselves. or contribute to. Wolf’s ain beliefs.

Let us get down by looking briefly at the positions set Forth by Frankfurt’s “Freedom of Will and the Concept of a Person” ( Kane 127-40 ) . who makes a differentiation between Freedom of Action and Freedom of Will. Freedom of Action implies freedom to make whatever 1 wills to make. However this alone is non plenty to justify duty. Person may possess freedom of action but deficiency duty if their actions are non to the full under their control or governed by their desires.

( Kane 147 ) Such is the instance. as Wolf points out. with people that are kleptomaniacs. or under hypnosis. or have been brainwashed. In these cases the desires regulating their actions are non under their control. With this in head we come to Frankfurt’s thought of freedom of will. Freedom of will so is the ability to will what one wants to will. He breaks these up into first order desires ( wants to move. animalistic desires ) and 2nd order desires ( desires about that wants to hold or what wants to move upon ) .

Therefore in order for person to hold freedom of action and freedom of will. in bend being a free responsible histrion. they must regulate their actions with both their first order desires every bit good as possess the ability to regulate their first order desires by their 2nd order desires. Watson has a position non entirely divergent from that of Frankfurt. Whereas Frankfurt believes in the first and 2nd order desires. Watson believes that there is a difference between simpler desires ( such as being thirsty and desiring to imbibe ) and desires that correspond to a individuals values or beliefs.

To Watson. a free agent is responsible for their actions when their wants or desires that entail these actions come from a peculiar topographic point ( this topographic point is the value system of the agent ) . ( Kane 148 ) If one views their desire to move a certain manner as “good” in respects to their ain system of values. so they are moving freely and responsibly. or instead are a free and responsible agent. Finally we come to the beliefs of Taylor. He believes that a free and responsible agent is one who has the “ability to reflect on. criticize. and revise ourselves.

” ( Kane 148 ) Harmonizing to Taylor. human existences have the alone ability to reflect upon their actions and make up one’s mind whether these are the actions we truly want to hold. In this manner we can reflect upon ourselves. knock our actions. and in bend revision ourselves as we see fit in response to our actions. To Taylor so. this ability is all that is required for us to be responsible egos. The common yarn among the beliefs of these philosophers is that an agent is free and responsible non merely if their actions are governed by their volitions. but that their volitions are governed by some kind of deeper ego.

Wolf groups these separate but similar doctrines into what she calls Deep Self theories. With the foundation for the Deep Self position now laid out. we can set it merely with the statement “agent S is morally responsible if their actions precede from/reflect their existent ego. ” ( In-Class 9/6/12 ) To specify this thought another manner by utilizing Wolf’s footings. we have both free will and are responsible when our actions are in line with and looks of our deep egos with which we reflectively place or desire to confirm as what we truly are. ( Kane 154 )

Having this deep ego is a necessary making for Wolf and what is required to be an agent responsible for 1s ain actions. but it is non plenty. To exemplify this. Wolf provides us the narrative of JoJo. ( Kane 153 ) JoJo is the boy of a pitiless dictator Jo. Turning up JoJo was allowed to attach to his Dad in his personal businesss. which included tormenting people. incarcerating them. condemning them to decease. and all other sort of condemnable Acts of the Apostless. Because of the influence of these things on his upbringing. when JoJo becomes an grownup and is dictator himself. he engages in many of the same flagitious activities.

Wolf is clear here to do the differentiation that JoJo is non being coerced into making these things. but that he is moving harmonizing to his ain true desires. Because these actions stem from his true desires it is implied so that if he reflects upon whether he is the individual he wants to be. he will doubtless believe that he perfectly is. However. we know from his yesteryear that JoJo was unable to command the environment in which he was raised ( he. like us. was non a merchandise of self-creation ) .

It seems to follow so. and would be true for anyone. that the insidious individual JoJo has become was a wholly ineluctable byproduct of his upbringing. When sing this it does non look out of the inquiry that JoJo is non genuinely responsible for possessing the evil impulses and desires he has. However. because his actions are governed by his desires. which are in bend governed and expressed by his deepest ego. in the deep ego position this would intend JoJo is to the full responsible.

Yet. because JoJo was non in control of the formation of that deep ego. instead he was influenced by his upbringing ( once more. missing self-creation ) merely as we are. it would follow that he is non in control of that regulating deep ego and therefore can non be held responsible. It is at this point that Wolf posits the impression that saneness is a necessary demand for duty. in bend organizing her “Sane Deep Self” position. For her intents. Wolf defines saneness as “the minimally sufficient ability to cognitively and normatively acknowledge and appreciate the universe for what it is.

” ( Kane 155 ) When coupled with the deep ego position described antecedently. saneness acts as the losing status necessary to order an histrion as being finally responsible. In add-on to the deep ego demand that a responsible histrion be both able to regulate their actions by their desires and their desires by their deeper egos. Wolf’s thought “insists that the agent’s deep ego be sane and claims that this is all that is needed for responsible bureau.

” ( Kane 155 ) This is the cardinal constituent which separates us from the JoJo’s of the universe. Wolf points out that. “like us. JoJo’s actions flow from desires that flow from his deep ego. unlike us. JoJo’s deep ego is itself insane. ” ( Kane 155 ) Necessity to the thought of saneness is the ability to to state between right and incorrect. and such as the instance with JoJo. “a individual who. even on contemplation. can’t see that holding person tortured because he failed to toast you is incorrect obviously lacks the needed ability.

” ( Kane 155-56 ) It is this needed ability inherent in the sane and losing in the insane which leads us eventually to the claim that it is non JoJo’s inability to find right from incorrect which factors into his non-responsibility. but the fact that his actions/self are ineluctable. This thought that is is non JoJo’s ability to separate right from incorrect. but is instead the fact that his actions/self are ineluctable which makes him non responsible for his actions may non be as easy recognizable.

At first one may be driven to presume the contrary. that because JoJo can non understand what he is making is incorrect so he must be insane. However. we have to retrieve JoJo’s upbringing. With the experiences he had with his male parent as a immature male child. the ambiance he was raised in. and the desensitisation that resulted. is it non acceptable to deduce that possibly JoJo’s apprehension of what is right and what is incorrect is skewed from the traditionally recognized impressions of those values. Because JoJo was non in control of the environment

he grew up in and the manner in which he was raised. some may reason that finally while JoJo’s deep ego may be moving as it wants. he is non responsible for the contents of that deep ego. In this manner he is non responsible for his actions. Wolf tells us of several possible unfavorable judgments of this statement. the most blazing one being that like JoJo. none of us are in control of the environment or society we were raised in. Following this. how is it that JoJo is non responsible when he does something bad. but we are responsible.

Logically it would look that because of this. both us and JoJo would all non be responsible for our deep egos and the actions that come from it. However. this is rather efficaciously put to rest and I believe Wolf does a persuasive occupation of it. JoJo is “unable to cognitively and normatively acknowledge and appreciate the universe for what it is” ( Kane 156 ) ( a definition she antecedently presented for this peculiar usage of the term saneness ) and it is this ability to acknowledge the universe for what it is that sets us apart.

Because JoJo’s system of values. and therefore his position of the universe and apprehension of good and evil is so skewed from his upbringing. he lacks this ability to acknowledge what he is making as incorrect. Since. as we no uncertainty cognize. JoJo lacks the ability to state right from incorrect. he is so unable to revise his deep ego based on these constructs. Though his deep ego is merely as “unavoidable” ( Kane 157 ) as our ain ( stemming from influences beyond out control ) . because our deep egos are sane we do non miss the capacity for self-correction.

In this manner though the formation of our deepest egos may hold been merely as out of our control as JoJo’s. we are unlike JoJo in the fact that we do non miss the capacity to measure our actions in relation to the recognized social values and norms. It is non because JoJo’s deep ego can’t state right from incorrect which makes him not-responsible. or that the contents of that deep ego were ineluctable. it is that his deep ego. being insane. lacks the ability to cognitively acknowledge in the context of normal society that an action is incorrect and in bend alteration his place on that action.

None of the formation of our deep egos is under our control. No individual is wholly a merchandise of self-creation. and this is what Wolf wants to reason. All of our actions/selves are ineluctable so at the most cardinal of degrees. We are all merchandises of our environments. However. this fact does non fiddle us of duty for our actions. except as Wolf argues. in the instance of the insane. This unavoidability facet of our deep egos is non plenty to order whether or non person is finally responsible.

It is what one chooses to make with that deep ego. It is how 1 chooses to revise oneself ( if considered sane. of class ) . or correct their behaviours and characters based on our apprehension and connexion with the universe around us. The insane individual lacks the capacity for such penetration. It is this characteristic that finally makes us responsible or non responsible. That we understand right and incorrect. and can alter the actions of our deep egos consequently. is what makes us morally responsible and non JoJo.

What is finally necessary for duty in the Sane Deep self view so. is “ ( 1 ) the ability to measure ourselves sanely and accurately and ( 2 ) the ability to transform ourselves in so far as our rating tells us to make so. ” ( Kane 159 ) It should now be clear that it is non plenty to merely reason that JoJo is no responsible because JoJo’s actions/self is ineluctable. because all of our egos are ineluctable. It is the fact that JoJo lacks the ability to both measure himself accurately and the ability to transform his deep ego based on that rating.

While Wolf herself admits that the “Sane Deep Self position does non. so work out all the philosophical jobs connected to the subjects of free will and responsibility” ( Kane 161 ) it does make an first-class occupation of make fulling the nothingness left by the field Deep Self View. every bit good as provides us an first-class get downing topographic point for analysis of these and other theories and positions on free will and duty. Works Cited? Kane. Robert. Free Will. 1st Ed. Malden. Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers. 2002. 127-40. 145- 61. Print.


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